Creatine is a non-protein amino acid compound found in small amounts in animal products such as red meat and seafood. Creatine is endogenously formed from amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine in the kidneys and liver. Creatine is also available as a nutritional ergogenic supplement in the form of white crystalline powder. In the human body, the majority of (95%) of Creatine is stored in skeletal muscles. Creatine increases muscle performance in short-duration, high-intensity resistance exercises, which rely on the phosphocreatine shuttle for the adenosine triphosphate. Creatine Monohydrate is the most-researched ergogenic supplement. Intramuscular Creatine concentration has been shown by studies to improve high-intensity performance leading to greater training adaptations. Athletes and resistance training individuals supplement with Creatine for improving muscle mass, performance, and recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions on Creatine
- What is the need to supplement with Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine is primarily found in non-vegetarian sources, hence vegans and vegetarians have been reported to have lower resting Creatine concentrations. Vegetarians observe greater gains in muscle Creatine content from Creatine supplementation. Although Creatine is found in animal foods, the ratio is very low. A pound of uncooked beef and salmon provides about 1-2g of Creatine. Conversely, athletes engaged in intense training may need to consume 5g of Creatine to maintain optimal whole body Creatine stores and to achieve heightened phosphocreatine stores during high-intensity exercise. Some individuals have been found to have Creatine synthesis deficiencies and must depend on dietary Creatine intake in order to maintain normal muscle phosphocreatine concentration.
- What are the benefits of taking Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine increases anaerobic energy capacity, decreases protein breakdown, and increases cellular water retention in muscles which not only makes muscles look bigger but also promotes protein synthesis. Creatine enhances post-exercise recovery, increases fat-free muscle mass, stamina during maximal effort muscle contractions and delays fatigue, and enhances the ability to perform repeated high-intensity exercise bouts.
- Should you take Creatine with meals?
There is no consensus as to whether Creatine should be taken with meals. However, as per studies taking Creatine with carbohydrate-rich meals may enhance its absorption and uptake by skeletal muscles.
- Should you take Creatine on empty stomach?
Although there is a real contradiction to taking Creatine on an empty stomach, there are reports that some people may experience stomach cramps, and nausea when taking Creatine on an empty stomach.
- Should you not take Creatine before bed?
The main purpose of supplementing with Creatine would be to promote the energy required for an intense workout. In that sense, taking Creatine 30 minutes a before workout will be rewarding as your muscles will have enough stamina to lift more. Taking Creatine before bed won’t be an ideal time to supplement with Creatine.
- How to consume Creatine?
Creatine helps to boost muscle strength and muscle performance. Mix the recommended dose (3-5g) of Creatine with a liquid such as water, fruit juice, or protein shake, stir it well to ensure Creatine is fully dissolved, and consume it 30 minutes before your workout.
- Can you take Creatine Monohydrate even if you don’t do hard workouts?
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in animal-based foods. Creatine supplementation helps increase the muscle creatine stores and boosts the potential energy required to take your performance to next level. It’s not that Creatine cannot be used if you don’t do hard workouts, it is also useful for those who engage in a less intense exercise like walking but Creatine’s best benefits are revealed if you combine it with strenuous workouts.
- Can you substitute Creatine for Whey Protein?
That makes no sense. Creatine cannot be considered a substitute for a protein supplement. Creatine and Whey Protein are two different supplements, both of which benefit muscle growth and performance, but they have a different mechanism of action and serve different roles in the body.
Creatine increases the potential energy by increasing the phosphate stores to convert ADP into ATP for improved muscle strength, and muscle endurance. Whey Protein is a high-quality protein with a high biological value that is quickly absorbed and facilitates muscle growth and recovery. Whey Protein supplementation is ideal if you are looking to increase your protein intake and Creatine supplement is better suitable if you are looking to improve muscle performance.
- Does Creatine help increase body height?
Height is determined mainly by genetics and nutrition. Creatine does not improve height. Creatine’s role is to improve the potential energy required for intense workouts. Creatine boosts muscle power, muscle strength and but it does not have any impact on height.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate have carbs in it?
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid produced in the body from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. Creatine is taken as a dietary supplement in the form of powder or capsules. Creatine itself does not contain carbohydrates, however, some brands may sell their Creatine mixed with dextrose or maltodextrin.
- Creatine Monohydrate vs Sugar
Creatine Monohydrate and Sugar are two different organic compounds with different functions in the body. Creatine is naturally found in the body and is stored in the skeletal muscles and boosts the potential energy for high-intensity training. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is broken down into glucose and used by the body for energy. Although it may seem like both Creatine and Sugar provide energy, Creatine has a targeted role of increasing quick bursts of energy, and muscle power for a short duration through increasing phosphocreatine stores. Sugar is a general source of energy, the excessive intake of which will lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and other negative health consequences.
- Does Creatine produce any side effects?
Short and long-term supplementation of recommended doses of Creatine is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals. Creatine is a relatively safe supplement, with the most common side effect detected being water retention in muscles. When combined with other supplements or taken in higher than recommended doses, there have been cases of renal and liver complications with Creatine. Available short and long-term studies in healthy and diseased populations at doses ranging from 0.3g/Kg/day for up to 5 years have consistently shown that Creatine supplementation poses no adverse health risks and may provide a number of health risks and may provide a number of performance benefits.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause constipation?
Creatine Monohydrate when taken in a recommended amount (5g per day) is unlikely to cause any gastric distress. However, some individuals may experience gastric distress like constipation either when taken in exceeding doses (more than 10g per serving), or due to interactions with some medication, diet, or lifestyle. It is advised to consume plenty of fluids when on Creatine supplementation.
- Should you load on Creatine Monohydrate?
Loading of Creatine refers to supplementing with Creatine for 5-7 days with a dosage of 20-25g/day (divided into small doses throughout the day). The loading phase of Creatine is not required to increase the intramuscular stores of Creatine as it may speed up the saturation. Lower daily maintenance doses of 3-5g of Creatine are well-established by research studies. This dose is sufficient to maintain elevated levels of Creatine. Taking higher doses of Creatine may make individuals experience gastric discomfort and other side effects.
- What does coffee do with Creatine Monohydrate?
Caffeine has been shown to improve endurance performance and Creatine improves strength and power. Although both are regarded as safe ergogenic supplements independently, there is no rationale for their simultaneous use in sports. Some studies suggest that caffeine which is found in coffee may interfere with the absorption of and ergogenic effects of Creatine. Caffeine being diuretic may increase the production of urine and Creatine’s cell volumization effect may increase the risk of dehydration, hence they both are not an ideal combination.
- Can you add Creatine Monohydrate to pre-workout?
Yes, you can absolutely take Creatine Monohydrate with your pre-workout. However, it’s important to note if your pre-workout supplement already contains some amount of Creatine in order not to consume it in high amounts. Also, it’s a good idea to check the label of your pre-workout supplement to make sure it contains caffeine. Consuming both Creatine and Caffeine in small amounts won’t cause any negative interaction.
- Should you take Creatine Monohydrate pre-workout?
Creatine increases the amount of energy available for working muscles by promoting increases in phosphocreatine stores. Taking Creatine pre-workout will enhance muscle strength, muscle power and positively affects the adaptive response to exercise.
- Is Creatine Monohydrate banned for sports?
No, Creatine is found in high amounts in the food supply and therefore its use is not banned by any sports organization.
- How does Creatine Monohydrate powder taste?
Unflavoured Creatine Monohydrate is typically odourless, tasteless, white crystalline powder.
- How does Creatine Monohydrate work?
Creatine Monohydrate works by increasing the amount of creatine phosphate in the muscles, which helps to provide energy during high-intensity exercise.
Once inside the muscle cells, Creatine swiftly gets attached to the high energy phosphate molecule to become Creatine Phosphate. By donating the phosphate group, Creatine recharges ADP to become ATP and acts as a driving force behind energy production.
Creatine increases the intercellular pool of phosphocreatine in skeletal muscle, which helps to regenerate ATP.
Phosphocreatine shuttle predominates as an ATP source during maximal effort exercises less than 10 seconds.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause stomach cramps?
Not everyone who consumes Creatine will experience this, those who consume too much Creatine (particularly those who load on Creatine) may experience stomach discomfort. Creatine causes muscles to retain water which may cause a dehydration effect if your fluid intake is not adequate. It is likely that dehydration can in turn cause stomach cramps or stomach upset. It is advisable to ensure you consume plenty of water while on Creatine supplementation.
- Is Creatine effective only for males?
No, there is accumulating evidence to suggest that Creatine supplementation has potential benefits for females with little to no side effects. Creatine’s main benefit is to increase the availability of ATP, muscle power, and muscle strength, its role would be the same irrespective of men or women. Women should engage in regular training to find results of improved muscle strength.
- Is Creatine Monohydrate the superior form of Creatine?
Creatine Monohydrate is the most extensively studied and widely used form of Creatine in dietary supplements. While some forms of Creatine are better soluble in fluids than Creatine Monohydrate, research studies suggest Creatine Monohydrate be the most well-tolerated and ideal choice of Creatine.
- Is Creatine useful for only resistance exercise?
It’s not resistance exercise, but there is a variety of athletic events which may benefit from Creatine supplementation. Creatine is theorized to primarily benefit athletes involved in resistance training because it enhances muscle performance and strength during short duration, high-intensity resistance exercise (that involve short bursts of energy). Creatine supplementation may provide beneficial effects like enhancing glycogen stores, delaying fatigue, reducing muscle damage, and accelerating recovery for other forms of exercise.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause diarrhea?
The incidence of diarrhea is low, however, consuming greater than 10 grams of Creatine may potentially lead to gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea. In case you experience this, you should emphasize on smaller dosing strategy (3-5g), buy Creatine from a reputed brand, and prioritize adequate hydration.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause hair loss?
There is no such scientific evidence to suggest that Creatine causes hair loss. Although some studies link between higher doses of Creatine and increased serum dihydrotestosterone (DHT) over time, which has been linked to some occurrences of hair loss, these findings are not conclusive. Creatine is generally safe when used in moderation and hair loss can result from a variety of factors, like age, hormonal imbalance, lifestyle, stress levels, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, and certain medications.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause weight gain?
Your weight gain is determined by body fat mass and muscle mass. Creatine may increase body weight by enhancing the potential ATP that lets you train harder. The increased performance can lead to greater muscle mass and strength gains over time. This cannot be determined as a direct cause of weight gain. In addition, weight gain associated with Creatine could be due to water retention in muscles. Water retention could be beneficial as it contributes to increased protein synthesis which causes the body to add more muscle mass. The weight gain associated with Creatine supplementation is modest and is caused by lean, solid, muscle mass, not a cause of fat mass accumulation.
- Does Creatine increase fat mass?
No, Creatine supplementation does not increase fat mass. Creatine supplementation in fact is a safe and effective way to improve body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat percentage.
- Who should use Creatine Monohydrate?
Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase muscle power and muscle recovery. Creatine supplementation can be considered for use by athletes who are involved in serious/competitive training, and those who engage in a high-intensity exercise like sprints, weight lifting, swim sprints, basketball, volleyball, field hockey, tennis, wrestling, boxing, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. Since Creatine is primarily found in animal-based foods, vegetarians and vegans may have lower levels of Creatine in their muscles, and supplementing with Creatine can improve athletic performance.
- Is Creatine Monohydrate a safe supplement?
Creatine Monohydrate is generally considered safe for healthy individuals when taken in recommended doses. However, some people may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, muscle cramps, and dehydration. The side effects are generally mild and can be avoided by staying adequately hydrated.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate cause kidney damage?
There is no evidence that Creatine Monohydrate cause kidney damage in healthy individuals. However, people with pre-existing kidney problems should consult a healthcare practitioner before taking Creatine Monohydrate.
- Is Creatine suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, vegetarians and vegans can safely take Creatine Monohydrate. Vegetarians and vegans have low levels of Creatine in their muscles as they do not consume animal foods that are predominantly rich in Creatine. Creatine is more suitable for vegetarians because vegetarians do not get Creatine in their diet. Creatine supplements are typically made from synthetic sources and do not contain any animal products, which makes them suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Creatine supplementation is a safe and effective way for vegetarians and vegans to increase muscle creatine levels and improve athletic performance.
- How long does it take to find results taking Creatine Monohydrate?
Results from taking Creatine Monohydrate can vary from individual to individual as it depends on several factors, such as the individual’s baseline level of muscle mass, consistent intake of Creatine, and type of workout performed. However, most people will begin to see an improvement in muscle strength and power within a few weeks of starting supplementation if combined with the appropriate training program.
- Can teens take Creatine?
There is limited research on the safety of Creatine supplementation in teenagers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that teenagers (under the age of 18) should not use performance- enhancing supplements since there is limited research evidence on the safety of Creatine supplementation in teenagers. Some critics of Creatine supplementation have pointed to warnings listed on some product labels that individuals younger than 18 years of age should not take Creatine as evidence that Creatine supplementation is unsafe in younger individuals.
- What is the difference between Creatine Monohydrate and Creapure?
Creatine Monohydrate and Creapure are both forms of Creatine, the primary distinction between them lies in the purity of Creatine. Creapure is a superior form of Creatine that is manufactured in Germany by AlzChem using a patented manufacturing process. Creapure is known for its purity and potency, it is micronized which means it contains finer Creatine particles and is easily absorbed by the body. Creapure is close to 100% pure Creatine, whereas regular Creatine is around 98.99% pure. Both Creapure and Creatine Monohydrate work to enhance the potential energy needed for promoting improved athletic performance and muscle growth.
- Can you take both BCAA and Creatine?
Yes, you can take Creatine and BCAA together but keep in mind that both are performance enhancing supplements which should be taken judiciously. Combining the two supplements will improve your muscle power, muscle endurance, reduce muscle breakdown, and promote muscle protein synthesis. However, it’s important to follow the recommended doses to improve performance, recovery, and build muscle.
- Can you take Creatine for long periods?
Creatine is generally considered a safe and well-tolerated supplement for long-term use when taken in recommended doses. However, it is advised to avoid excessive and prolonged use of Creatine without consulting a healthcare professional.
- Does Creatine cause dehydration?
Creatine may alter the whole-body fluid distribution by increasing intracellular water uptake and retention. The American College of Sports Medicine has recommended that individuals on a weight loss and in situations of body water loss, such as severe sweating from exercise, or exercising in increased environmental temperature or during the loading phase may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle cramping. One should avoid the use of Creatine supplementation in such conditions. Experimental and clinical research does not validate the notion that Creatine increases the risk of dehydration if taken at recommended doses and consumed with adequate fluids.
- Does Creatine Monohydrate help build muscle?
Creatine is an effective ergogenic supplement that increases the availability of ATP, which can enhance muscle power and muscle strength during high-intensity exercise performance. Creatine supplementation increases the amount of Creatine available in skeletal muscles which increases your performance output and improves muscle gains when combined with the resistance training program.
- Does Creatine promote fat loss?
Creatine’s chief role is to maximize the energy stores that will potentially allow you to hit more reps and sets, the higher reps will translate into increased muscle mass and calorie burning leading to fat loss over time.
- Can you take Creatine if you don’t do workouts?
While there is nothing wrong in supplementing with Creatine even without engaging in regular workouts, this is not much beneficial. Those who do not engage in regular gym workouts may not experience the primary benefits of Creatine which is improved muscle mass.
- Can I mix Creatine with warm water?
Creatine will break up more effectively when mixed in warm water as opposed to cold water. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Creatine begins to degrade when it is in prolonged contact with water. So, it is advised to mix Creatine with water just before consuming it, rather than letting it sit for an extended period of time.
- Does Creatine increase muscle size?
An increase in muscle size mainly depends on regular strength training and protein supplementation. Creatine does help increase muscle size by increasing the capacity for rapid ATP resynthesis which contributes to better muscle contractions in the gym.
- Will I lose muscle if I stop taking Creatine?
You will not lose muscle if you stop taking Creatine. This is a myth. Losing muscles rely on several factors like inadequate calorie/protein intake, and not doing strength training workouts. When you stop taking Creatine, you’ll notice a decrease in muscle strength and muscle size. This is not necessarily because of loss of muscle, but primarily because of loss of water retention in the muscle. Continue to engage in regular strength training, maintain a balanced diet, and protein intake even if you stop taking Creatine.
- Is Creatine suitable for women?
Yes, women can safely take Creatine Monohydrate. Creatine is not a hormone or steroid and does not have any negative side effects on women’s health. Creatine is naturally produced in the body but the main purpose of supplementing with Creatine is to increase the amount of Creatine stored in your muscles. When used along with regular strength training, and a balanced diet, Creatine helps improve athletic performance and improves body composition in women.
- Who should not supplement with Creatine?
Creatine is a safe and well-tolerated supplement in healthy individuals. However, some individuals should avoid taking it or take it with caution. Individuals with a history of kidney problems, liver disease, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with high blood pressure should avoid taking Creatine and must consult a healthcare professional before embarking on Creatine supplementation.
- When is the best time to consume Creatine?
On the days you workout, Creatine is best suggested to be taken shortly before your workout. On rest days, timing is not probably important, you can supplement with Creatine any time of the day on rest days.
- Is Creatine a steroid?
No, Creatine is neither a steroid nor a stimulant. Creatine is a well-tolerated and safe ergogenic dietary supplement widely used by athletes and bodybuilders for improved performance and muscle mass.
- Can you consume Creatine with Whey Protein?
This combination will support better stamina, focus, muscle building, and recovery. The suggested dose of Whey would be one scoop (30g) a day, and for Creatine, 5g per day. This is the best optimal dose suggested to support muscle growth. You can either take the two supplements together pre or post-workout or take them separately, like Creatine pre-workout and Whey post-workout. This combination is instrumental in putting on muscles and getting outstanding gains from workouts.
- How to promote Creatine uptake?
Consuming Creatine with carbohydrates or carbohydrates and protein has been reported to more consistently promote greater creatine retention.
- Can you consume Creatine and L-Carnitine together?
Both Creatine and Carnitine aim to optimize energy during workouts, help delay the onset of fatigue, and aid in faster recovery. While Creatine optimizes energy through ATP regeneration, Carnitine optimizes energy through fat burning.
- What is the recommended dose of Creatine?
The recommended dose of Creatine Monohydrate is typically 3-5g per day.
- Can you use Creatine for cutting?
Although Creatine is primarily a performance booster that helps improve your performance, it does benefit your cutting goals. Creatine increases the potential energy to hit more reps, the higher reps will translate into muscle mass while also helping burn fat. The combination of Creatine and resistance training will increase fat loss more than resistance training alone.
- Can you consume Creatine and Arginine together?
You’ll find the benefits of supplementing with this combination only when you use them to support your resistance performance. Creatine and Arginine have unique roles, while Creatine enhances energy output and muscle power, Arginine increases nitric oxide production which helps improve blood flow and nutrient delivery to the muscles. Creatine and Arginine combination will enhances muscle power and boost muscle-building potential.
- Can you consume Creatine and BCAA together?
It is absolutely safe to take Creatine and BCAA together. Creatine and BCAA are performance- enhancing supplements, the combination of which will promote muscle power, muscle endurance, muscle growth, and muscle strength. It’s important to keep in mind to take the two supplements judiciously and not to overwork your body, it’s better to keep it for a short time as your body already produces Creatine naturally.
- Can you take Creatine on rest days?
Yes, you can certainly take Creatine on rest days. While Creatine is most commonly associated with improving energy for exercise performance, taking it on rest days will keep the Creatine phosphate content in the muscle raised for improved recovery so that you can perform better in your next workout.
- Does Creatine cause women to bulk up?
Creatine supplementation does not cause women to bulk up. Women who engage in strength training and consume Creatine will see results of increased muscle mass and strength. Women are unlikely to bulk up when taking Creatine as women have lower levels of testosterone than men, which is a hormone that makes it easier for men to put on huge muscle mass.
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